Thursday, 16 February 2017

How to Get Your First 10,000 Fans on Facebook (Case Study)

February 16, 2017

Step 1: First things first – you need to have a Facebook business page

It may sound silly for the experienced but for beginners to social media this may be something new: A personal Facebook page is different from a business page.
If you want to have friends on Facebook to share your holiday photos then you need to create a personal page but if you want to have fans and followers for your website or business then you need to create a Facebook business page.
So, the first step is to ensure that you create a Facebook business page and the second step is to make sure that your page is properly optimized.

Step 2: Optimize your Facebook business page

When we talk about Facebook business page optimization we mean choosing a friendly page title (username), writing a catchy description (in the short description field), providing accurate information for long description, company overview, mission (see screenshot below) and of course posting interesting content – this is the most important optimization tip of all.
Facebook Business Page Optimization Tips
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The quality of the content posted on your Facebook business page will also determine it’s success or failure.
Having an optimized Facebook page makes it easier to attract new fans or more likes from ads as we will see below.

Step 3: Take advantage of your personal Facebook account

I mentioned in step 1 above that you need to have a business page and not a personal page, but you still need to have an active personal facebook account.
Here is why:
After you post an update on your business page, one of the ways to increase exposure and likes, is to share that post on your personal page as well.
People you have as friends on your personal page are more likely to ‘like’ and ‘interact’ with the post shared from your business page and this will increase the engagement factor of your posts.
As a result, facebook will show your posts to more fans (organically).
So, one of the ways to increase the number of people that view your posts and go past the 4% of you fan base is to share and promote the post on your personal page.
It goes without saying that the greater the number of friends the bigger will be the visibility of the post.
Also, make sure that you invite all your existing friends (and new ones) to like your Facebook business page. Do that every time you gain a new ‘friend’.

Step 4: Add the Facebook Like box on your website

Facebook like Box above the fold
This is again social media marketing 101 but you need to have the Facebook like box on your website for 3 reasons:
#1 – It’s a way to associate your website with the Facebook business page. In other words it is a way to ‘tell’ search engines that this is your official Facebook business page.
#2 – When you get a lot of fans, this is something you should be proud off and something to show to your users (as explained above this means popularity, trust and social proof).
#3 – It’s a good way to grow your fan base organically. Your readers can follow your website by clicking the LIKE button without having to go to Facebook.
Hint: For optimum results, position the LIKE box above fold (on the sidebar).
Hint 2: You can also popup the like box to new users (for example, after they spend 60 seconds on a page, after they scroll down to the bottom or after they try to leave your page – while this works well in terms of getting new likes, you should be careful not to make it too distracting for your users.)

Step 5: Follow these tips to increase post engagement

So far, we have created an optimized Facebook business page, added friends to our personal Facebook page and placed the like box in a prominent position on our website.
The next natural step is to start sharing content to keep your fans happy and maybe manage to convert them from fans > web site visitors > customers.
Some simple rules to follow that will increase the user engagement with your facebook business page:
#1 – Share relevant content: Share content that your fans expect to see in your page. For example, if your website is about Social media, share content related to social media and not about sports or anything else you might like. If your users want to read sports news, they know where to find them.
#2 – Don’t forget that they follow your business page to get updates about your website (and niche) and not about your social gatherings: If you want to get social, then use your personal Facebook page, your business page is about your website.
#3 – As a rule thumb, I use my business page to share content from my niche only, if I need to share something which is not related to my niche, I use my personal page.
#4 – Don’t be too promotional: Sharing promotional content (all the time) on your Facebook page will drive your fans away. When you have a promotion to share or something that might benefit your fans, you can do so but don’t overdo it.
Try to post interesting, shareable content that is related to your niche, even if this does not come directly from your website. Keep a balance between promotional and content that your followers might want to read.

Step 6: Share interesting and high quality content (not just links)

I made some tests regarding the impact of descriptions when doing a Facebook update and found out that Facebook posts with ‘lists’ get more likes than posts with just links. Let me give you an example to understand what I mean.
When you want to share a post from your website on Facebook, you go to Facebook status updates and enter the webpage URL.  It looks something like this:
Normal Facebook post
You can share this post without adding any additional information. If your title and images are good, you will get a number of likes depending on the time you make the post, number of fans etc.
If one the other hand, you enrich your post by adding more information and particularly a list, then other things being equal, you are more likely to gain more likes and shares.
Facebook Post with list
For me this makes sense because people that see a title and image in their timeline may not ‘Like It’ since it provides no value to them (don’t forget that the average user is presented with hundreds of postings in their timeline every time they login to Facebook).
On the other hand when you give them valuable, high quality and easy to read information (like a list), they will click the LIKE button because they read something useful without having to leave their timeline.
Note: It is a known fact that people have a tendency of LIKING a post without reading it so give them reasons to do so; your website visits may not increase but the engagement factor of your posts will rise.

Step 7: Share images, videos and emotions

If you take a look at some of the most popular Facebook pages, you will notice that they tend to share images, videos, infographics, charts etc, along with their usual text only postings.
This type of content gets more likes and shares and as a result the page gets more fans and followers.
In a recent study by Buzzsumo, they identified that the most shared and liked content on Facebook, has the following characteristics:
facebook viral elements

Step 8: Provide incentives to get more fans & followers

Why should someone follow your Facebook business page?
You need to give incentives to facebook users to follow your page. A few ideas to consider:
Quality updates – This is the best incentive you can give your users. Before posting anything on your page, you need to make sure that it provides value to your audience. When you do this consistently, you existing followers will share it with their friends and this will attract more users.
Run a contest – Many websites run contests on Facebook and giveaway different gifts. The ‘price’ for joining the content is to LIKE the page first. There are various tools to do that but have in mind that if you don’t have a known brand this many not be so successful.
Content upgrades – If you have a blog, you can use ask users to LIKE your page to get an updated version of your post. This requires extra tools but it is something worth testing out.

Step 9: You need to promote your own content and page

When you create your business page don’t expect that it will magically get thousands of fans. Besides the tips outlined above, you also have to promote your business page in places other than Facebook.
A few ideas to consider that worked for my case:
Promote in other social media networks – If you have accounts with other social media channels e.g. Google+, Pinterest etc. you can periodically ask your followers to join you on Facebook as well. Be polite and explain to them the benefits from doing so.
Promote in Twitter – Besides posting about your Facebook page on other social media networks, you can take advantage of twitter’s interactive features.
When you get a new twitter follower, send them a private (personalized) message and ask them to follow you on facebook (both your personal and business pages).
This method although it is time consuming, (I did it manually and not using any tools) it can produce really good results.
Promote in your newsletter – If you have a newsletter or if you communicate with your readers via email, make sure that you ask them to follow your Facebook page.
Do not just write the FB URL below your signature but ASK them politely to LIKE your business page.

Step 10: Facebook ads is a must

Increase fans with facebook ads
I have saved one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase your Facebook fans for last, since it is the only one that it’s not free.
Facebook offers a self-service ad platform which you can use to either increase your fan base (promote your page), boost your posts, get more leads, increase conversions or perform a number of other actions (as shown in the image above).
The procedure is pretty simple and straightforward. Basically you select a page you own, select your goal (promote your page), select your audience (based on country, age, other demographics and interests) and then set your daily budget and duration.
The cost per campaign depends on a number of factors. The best way to assess if Facebook ads is a good solution to increase your fan base, is to run a pilot campaign for a couple of days.
Spend $10-$20 dollars per day and run the campaigns for a fixed duration (at least a week). At the end, you can decide if the cost per like is something you are willing to pay for.
I had great results with Facebook ads both for my websites and for client websites and I run campaigns every month (for a few days) to boost my facebook likes.
It should be noted that with Facebook ads you don’t buy likes but views. Many people believe that what you pay for is Facebook likes but in reality you pay Facebook to show your ad to more Facebook users.
If what you are advertising is interesting, then more people will hit the like button so spend some time and think about the message you want to display in your ad as well as the image to use.

Conclusion

Having a big number of Facebook fans on your business pages is very important for credibility and social promotion purposes.
If this wasn’t important in the first place, then nobody would care and the US State Department wouldn’t have to spend $630 thousands for Facebook campaigns.
Once you do the necessary optimizations to your business page (steps 1 and 2 above), then the easiest way to get more followers is to use Facebook ads. With a bit of A/B testing you can get to 10,000 fans with no more than $1,000 (spread into a period of months).

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